Is it time to bring back a football/netball pre-season cup?
The Hampden league scrapped the Boag's Cup in recent years but with no footy and netball last year and no finals this year, there's a case for maxisiming the amount of play before season 2022.
And the Warrnambool and District league was onto the idea in 2020 with its intention of hosting a pre-season netball competition for all leagues.
While seniors is important, it's clear most of the football/netball community is concerned about juniors and their mental health as well the future of the two sports.
So let's make juniors a big part of the action with their own pre-season tournament.
Borrow some inspiration from Warrnambool Basketball's under 18 Seahawks Championship League which had some extra buzz around it with the NBA-style rings and pumping music.
Wouldn't it be something to make use of all the grounds in Albert Park - Reid, Mack and Walter Oval to play if they were available.
Teams could play shortened games of two halves. Two sides could sit on the sidelines and watch and then jump on for their turn so all games could be played on the day/night.
Fans could check out the action at the different grounds.
Regardless of whether or not the coronavirus pandemic is still impacting the football and netball season, it is worth considering what we can do differently next year to try and create more opportunities for play.
The best place to start is considering what we can do in March.
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association senior grand finals were played on the March 20 weekend this year. The junior boys was played on the weekend of March 6. And the women and junior girls were finished by early March.
Apart from the Good Friday blockbuster, the Warrnambool and District seniors and juniors didn't start until the weekend of April 10.
That was the same as the Hampden league.
So essentially, from March 7 to April 10 there was a window to play and it would likely be similar next year if we follow tradition.
There are four weeks which could be used for footy and netball match opportunities next year.
No doubt some people will say 'don't you remember the sweltering Good Friday weather players battled in this year'.
And it's a good point, footballers and netballers shouldn't be put at risk in unbearable conditions.
But surely there's room to play in the evenings in March with daylight savings.
Numerous grounds have lights - such as the Friendly Societies' Park, Cobden, Melville, Bushfield, and Terang - which could allow games to go later into the night.
Teams could continue to play their practice games alongside a pre-season tournament.
C'mon footy and netball, let's get excited about putting on a show when we can, given we weren't allowed to have finals this year.
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